While most Americans were enjoying a Thanksgiving holiday last week, dramatic developments unfolded in the Middle East that affect the region's long term future.
Even so, the mainstream media have failed to report the most significant implications, including reaction of leading 2016 U.S. presidential candidates to vitally important issues involving terrorism.
That should not be surprising. Media outlets work in tandem with U.S. policymakers for the most part to put a rosy glow on initiatives supported by the bipartisan foreign establishment that generally advocates war in the Middle East and increased military spending elsewhere, ostensibly to fight "terrorists" like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
So, the most influential media readily side-step developments that do not match official narratives. In contrast, the analysis below draws heavily from the facts unfolding.
The possibility of hostilities between Russia and NATO members gave new prominence last week to Western commentators who argue that rogue elements within the United States government and its allies — including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel — are secretly supporting the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and its Al Qaeda affiliates. Today's column explores this topic and Russia's reaction to the deaths of two of its military personnel at the hands of Turkey and U.S.-supported rebels last week.
On Nov. 24, two U.S.-supplied F-16 Turkish fighter planes shot down a Russian Su-24 supersonic bomber (of the type shown in the adjoining Russian military photo) that, at most, crossed a narrow peninsula of Turkish territory in Hatay province for a few seconds in the kind of incident that does not normally prompt a fatal response.
In an apparent war crime forbidden under international law, Turkmen Brigade rebels on the ground then fatally shot the Russian pilot while he was parachuting to earth as a helpless target. The rebels used U.S.-supplied weaponry also to kill a Russian marine attempting a helicopter rescue of the pilot and his navigator.
Russia reacted in part by deploying an advanced weapons system in Syria that may be creating, in effect, a Russian-controlled No Fly Zone. This would preempt an allied-controlled buffer and/or No Fly Zone that many Turkish and American politicians have previously advocated to protect rebels seeking to overthrow Syria's government.
As reported in Russia “Violated” Turkish Airspace Because Turkey “Moved” Its Border, Turkey had declared that it has already extended its border unilaterally eight kilometers into Syria to, in effect, create a protected zone for rebels. Other nations do not recognize this informal extension.
The Russian government and the rescued plane navigator, Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin, said the Russian plane never crossed into Turkish territory at all.
Middle East Eye editor Gareth Porter wrote in The real reason for Turkey's shoot-down of the Russian jet that the Turks' true motive in a pre-planned strike against the Russians was to protect foreign fighters in Syria affiliated with Turk-backed rebels fighting Syria's government via the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front. Dr. Porter, an independent journalist, wrote also that the Obama administration is well aware of Turkey's dubious claims, "But the administration is far too committed to its policy of working with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to force regime change to reveal the truth about the incident."
Whatever the case, Russia reacted to the brutal Syrian rebel shootings by deploying the S-400 advanced anti-aircraft system that Israel, in particular, has long feared as a military “game changer” in the region. The system (shown below at right) could endanger Israeli and allied military flights.
For years, Israel had successfully persuaded Russia to delay delivery to Syria and Iran of the predecessor S-300 missile systems developed in 1979 and contracted for sale to those countries. The much more advanced S-400 entered limited service in 2004.
Russia said it has now deployed the systems. The S-400 deployment in Syrian and concurrent deployment of the S-300 to Iran coincided last week with Russia’s increased bombing runs against the land-based Syrian rebels who are allied with Turkey, NATO and other Middle Eastern governments seeking the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia, invited into the fray by Assad, is allied with Iran and Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon in defending Syria against rebels that include jihadists reportedly drawn from more than 70 nations, including Russia, Britain, France and the United States. It has recently been disclosed that the CIA for four years has been supporting rebels secretly against Assad.
Russia also deployed a cruiser with anti-aircraft missiles in the nearby Mediterranean Sea and stated that future bombing runs against terrorists in Syria would be accompanied by advanced fighters that could destroy attackers from the air. Further, it announced economic sanctions against its trading partner Turkey, including a potential hold on a major pipeline project through Turkey to Europe. Additionally, commentator Paul Craig Roberts reports that a former U.S. Air Force expert has informed him that Russia has twice shown recently that it has a new stealth technology that can disable all radar and satellite communications by allies in the most important regions of Western Syria.
But Russia vowed no tit-for-tat military reprisal against Turkey for what Russian President Vladimir Putin called "a stab in the back." But Putin did announce economic reprisals putting at risk $30 billion in trade ties between the two countries.
American Critics Speak Out
In the wake of the shootdown, American critics of government policy are reminding their audiences that American political, military and intelligence leaders at the highest levels have secretly hidden basic facts from the Western public about government complicity with jihadists — and that the threat is so dangerous that true patriots must bypass the complicit mainstream media and warn the public.
Our own research indicates that those American officials hiding such secrets clearly include the Obama White House, 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, her major GOP opponents, congressional leaders of both parties, and top CIA and military leaders.
They have repeatedly deceived the American public about foreign assistance that the United States and its allies have used in their so-far unsuccessful effort to overthrow Syria’s president beginning four years ago in a covert operation supervised by then-CIA Director David Petraeus, shown in an official photo before his forced resignation in November 2012.
The result of the U.S.-concocted rebellion in Syria has been an estimated 300,000 Syrian lives lost, with many millions more now refugees from their destroyed or unsafe homes and workplaces.
Refugees include hundreds of thousands from Syria roaming through Europe, many of them shipped out by Turkey from relief camps. The migration is causing chaos in Europe. Legitimate Syrian refugees are mixed in with equally forlorn economic refugees from Libya and other nations that NATO destabilized in Africa and the Middle East.
Angry jihadists and other cultural warriors are undoubtedly a major part of the mix also. They are not likely to be detected for the most part, however, until they become more rooted and active in new communities. As a result, European popular fury is growing against the Turk, U.S. and other NATO leaders for their Middle Eastern war-mongering that created the Syrian refugee crisis and such threats as the Paris terrorist bombing earlier this month.
Impoverished refugees are en route to also to North America. Many Americans fear that a deceptive and divided federal leadership in Washington, DC cannot cope with complex security and financial issues, especially given the government's track record of repeated failures and false promises, especially on immigration policy.
Those following such issues know also that Petraeus, his successor John Brennan, and Obama’s special anti-ISIS Syran Special Envoy John Allen, a former general and close ally of Petraeus, have an especially dangerous record of advancing sinister agendas under the guise of fighting terrorism.
Their top priorities have been to please their neoconservative supporters by conducting a secret war against Assad while they quietly coddle Al Qaeda and ISIS elements that function at times as bogeyman generating public fear and bigger budgets for counterterrorism.
Petraeus, now CEO of a Wall Street firm and also a thought-leader in national security circles, advocated this month that the United States ally with al Qaeda groups in Syria (Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS) — as if the public could so easily forget that the Bush-era "War on Terror" was to target Al Qaeda. The successors to the U.S.-sponsored rebels fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the early 1980s are radical jihadists by most definitions, not "moderate" rebels.
At this point, much more scrutiny is merited for the supposed experts and allies who guide our foreign policy while coddling the barbaric practices of radical Islam's killers, rapists, sex slave traffickers, and torturers.